DOH Bribe Attempts Seen to Increase, Letter Grades Blamed

<em>A</em> for effort, maybe.
A for effort, maybe.

The Wall Street Journal reports on the arrest of a Queens restaurant owner who tried to bribe an undercover investigator with $500 in exchange for a passing grade on his restaurant inspection. Tony Lam allegedly placed the cash in the undercover officer’s pocket upon hearing about his restaurant’s critical violations; the restaurant, called Bungrill, is part of the food court at New World Mall in Flushing. The paper notes that while no health inspectors have been caught receiving bribes during the past few years, attempts are rampant. A manager at East Manor Buffet in Queens produced $500 last year at the end of an inspection, and an employee at Darbar Grill in midtown also coughed up $500, in May. “The letter grade system has created such fear and anxiety among restaurateurs that it may push an honest person to do something they normally wouldn’t do,” an executive vice-president New York State Restaurant Association tells the paper. [WSJ, Earlier]